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Review of Oaxaca, in the heart of Mexico - a multimedia CD

Reviewed by Al Stevens

Oaxaca Multimedia CD


According to Mixtec tradition, a healthy individual is someone who is happy, at peace, willing to work and to eat. Their eyes are luminous, and they live harmoniously with their family, neighbors or authorities. Any individual can attain such a healthy state. The hard part is to do it away from Oaxaca, its valleys, its beaches, its marketplaces, its fiestas, its different languages, its mysteries, and its light.

"Oaxaca in the Heart of Mexico", is a Multimedia CD that captures this attitude.

I'm actually not a fan of multimedia CD's, so when my copy of "Oaxaca" arrived in December, I let it sit on a shelf for several weeks before I popped it into my laptop. After a couple of clicks, I found myself in the photo gallery, mesmerized by Vittorio D'Onofri's black-and-white images of The Day of the Dead, A Zapotec Wedding, Palm Sunday and Chinanteco Carnival. The images of people participating in local events important to them draw you in and provide glimpses of the many cultures that makes Oaxaca such a special place.

I found myself in the photo gallery, mesmerized by Vittorio D'Onofri's black-and-white images of The Day of the Dead, A Zapotec Wedding, Palm Sunday and Chinanteco Carnival.

It took over an hour before I was ready to leave the photo gallery and move on, but, for the most part, I found visiting other parts of the CD as pleasant. The calendar of events not only provides a detailed description of various festivals, but includes useful travel information and color photos that bring them alive. Descriptions of archeological zones, museums, eco-tourism sites, natural attractions and Oaxacan handicrafts were equally engaging.

Unlike a lot of guidebooks, which seem to be written in a somewhat distant, slightly formulaic manner, Oaxaca reflects the positive feelings that its authors' have for their state. Descriptions often take the form of suggestions about how to best experience an event or a place: "We recommend visiting Monte Albán at sunset, when the rocks acquire a reddish color, clouds accelerate their crossing over the mountains, and the echo produced by the disposition of the old temples increases in gravity."

Another aspect that the CD highlights is the importance of indigenous groups in Oaxaca. From the CD: "In the state of Oaxaca, at least half the population still speaks an indigenous dialect. This large population establishes, not only one of their main distinctive features, but its identity and its most outstanding wealth. Thanks to this, Mexico still possesses the possibility of preserving one of the largest, untouched indigenous cultures in the Mesoamerican world." The CD itself provides a flavor of this culture and provides information that will help anyone plan to visit Oaxaca to experience its culture directly.

Watching the Horse Race at the Chinanteo Carnival





Death on a Bicycle

All photos are from Oaxaca, In the Heart of Mexico.

The State of Oaxaca is one of the most advanced in Mexico in promoting tourism. Under Diodoro Carrasco Altamirano, Governor from 1992-1998, Oaxaca developed a Tourist Guide web site and with that as a basis, developed this CD. It includes over 1,500 photographs, several hundred pages of text, and forty-two traditional songs. All written text and narration can be presented in either English or Spanish. The CD is available from

"Originally published on, a site devoted to independent travel in Mexico."

Published or Updated on: April 5, 2008 by Al Stevens © 2008
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